Blog | May 16, 2023

How Christel House Indianapolis Creates Lifelong Impact

Christel House Indianapolis (Christel House) is a network of public charter schools originally founded in 2002. They serve over 2,100 students at two K-8 academies, a high school, and an adult high school spread across three campuses

We sat down with two Christel House alumni to talk about how their experience attending Christel House set them up for success in college, the workforce, and beyond. 

Zicri Williams, 2017 Graduate and Community Engagement Coordinator at Indiana Latino Expo

Zicri Williams is a 2017 graduate of Christel House. After graduation, she attended Indiana University, where she majored in Tourism, Hospitality, and Event Management. Having graduated college at the peak of the pandemic, Zicri struggled finding a job in her field. Yet by leaning on the network she built during her time at Christel House, she successfully navigated those early post-college years and found her way to a position at Indiana Latino Expo

Q: Describe your educational experience at Christel House.

A: I cannot speak too highly about it. I recommend the school to everyone I meet. They offered a lot of one-on-one time. Educators took their time with me. They have students’ best interests in mind. It felt like a family environment. It’s what I look for now in my professional career. 

Q: What skills did Christel House help you develop?

A: Leadership is a big one. Also time management. They pushed doing things on time. I need all of that in my current job.

Q: What do you appreciate most about your time at Christel House?

A: The thing I appreciate most about my time at Christel House is the family feeling. It really did feel like a big family the whole time I was here. I attended from Kindergarten to 12th grade and a lot of my classmates grew up with me. They felt like siblings. I graduated with a family. That’s my biggest takeaway from high school.

Q: What extracurricular activities were you involved in?

A: I was on the basketball team and student council. Both were important to me. I felt like I had a say in what was going on and I got to plan events like prom. That helped me figure out my passion for event planning.

Q: What do you enjoy most about your job at the Indiana Latino Expo?

A: I enjoy being able to help out the Latino community. I know they need information and resources first hand because my family did not know where to find resources. I can now be the connector and plan events that share information with the Latino community.

Q: How did educators at Christel House help you see what was possible for your future?

A: Christel House educators shaped my future. A couple of them felt like parents to me. Ms. Yondo was my homeroom teacher for freshman and sophomore year. I was struggling in life and she guided me and gave me tough love that changed me into the person I am today.

Michael Pettet, 2019 Graduate and Offensive Security Consultant Consultant at Echelon Risk + Cyber 

Michael Pettet is a 2019 graduate of Christel House. He pursued information technology certifications straight after high school and is already well on his way in the field with his role as at Echelon Risk + Cyber.

Q: Tell us about your current job and how you got into it.

A: I got into my current job because of Mr. Douly. He saw that I liked computers and nudged me into a career path with computers and I just ended up liking security a lot. I got Security+ certified and got a job offer from Echelon Risk + Cyber and now I’m an offensive security consultant with them.

Q: What do you love most about working in the IT field? 

A: I love the flexibility. The fact that it is remote and I get to work with people from all over the world. I like the challenges a lot too. Being able to work in a field where everything is constantly changing. I love the treadmill of it, essentially.  

Q: How did Christel House prepare you for life after high school?

A: Christel House prepared me for life after high school, especially with the Fifth Third Bankers program. It went over fiscal responsibility and that’s been a big thing for me. 

Q: What extracurriculars did you take advantage of? 

A: The extracurricular that stuck out the most to me was Cyber Patriot, which Mr. Douly started. It is the Air Force’s cybersecurity program. They give you a virtual machine and you have to harden it against hackers and fix vulnerabilities. We got second place in the state for defensive cyber security.

Q: How did Christel House educators shape what was possible for your future?

A: The educators at Christel House care. All the teachers I had really pushed me to find what suited me. They cared about what I was doing.